Damaged Sidewalks Now Cause for Lawsuit Against Cities
Compared to drivers of motor vehicles, bicyclists must be aware of the many hazards around them that can lead to a serious bicycling accident. Some of these hazards are ones that would not be considered “hazards” for drivers of motor vehicles, such as roads with small cracks, potholes, and other such dangers. One bicyclist recently prevailed in settlement negotiations with the City of San Diego, netting nearly $5 million in damages following a bicycle crash caused by a tree root that had cracked a sidewalk and created a “ramp” that caused the bicyclist to be thrown nearly 30 feet from his bicycle.
Settlement with San Diego Does Not Necessarily Create Precedent
The cyclist in this case sued the City of San Diego, arguing that the city had a responsibility to maintain the road and sidewalk by removing the tree trunk and fixing any unevenness. However, because the case settled before a court to determine whether the city was, in fact, liable for taking corrective action and fixing the road and sidewalk, the case creates absolutely no precedent for bicyclists injured elsewhere in the United States. While this does not necessarily prevent a bicyclist injured in Riverside after striking uneven pavement or sidewalk from pursuing compensation against the City of Riverside, the bicyclist cannot point to this particular incident to support his or her claim for compensation.
Injured by a Hazard in the Road or Sidewalk? Be Prepared to Take Action!
Because a city or other local government might be responsible for failing to repair a street or sidewalk (or, at the very least, placing appropriate signage alerting bicyclists of the danger), a bicyclist who crashes as the result of a road or sidewalk in disrepair should attempt to take photographs of the road, sidewalk, and/or other surface upon which the crash occurred. Regardless of whether the crash occurred on public property or private property, it is not uncommon for a property owner to attempt to make repairs to the damaged surface and then claim there was never any damage to the surface.
Bicyclists should also avoid signing any sort of document offered to them by the owner of the property without first carefully reviewing such document, preferably with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Signing a release of liability – even if you did not fully understand the document at the time you signed it – can make it difficult (or impossible) to recover any compensation if you later discover your injuries are severe.
Heiting & Irwin is Available to Assist You with Your Bicycle Accident
If you or a loved one have been injured in a California bicycle accident, contact the knowledgeable and experienced Riverside personal injury law firm of Heiting & Irwin. Our firm has the resources and experience necessary to fully investigate what caused your bicycle accident and help you pursue a claim of compensation against those responsible for creating the conditions that caused your crash (or those who failed to take appropriate action to correct hazardous conditions). Call Heiting & Irwin today at (951) 682-6400 or contact us online and discuss your injury case with us today.